Using Endicia.com To Save on Shipping Costs
Shipping envelope using Endicia.
By Carl Burnham
An essential factor that all rare booksellers have in common is controlling costs. A significant portion of those costs are in shipping out books on a daily basis. We have long used the services of Endicia (www.endicia.com) to process and track our postage, both domestic and international. Anyone with a computer, printer, and the Internet can access it. After comparing the features of all the online postal services available (USPS, Stamps.com, Shipstream), we chose Endicia as our standard method for processing postage for shipping via US Postal Service or UPS. We ship in protective bubble mailer envelopes or boxes. We found Endicia to be more affordable and offers more features than the other services.
A free 30 day trial is offered, with three levels of plans available, priced from $9.95 for the standard service to $34.95 for the premium service per month, and designed to fit the various shipping needs of PC and Macintosh users. A creative new service called PictureItPostage now offers the ability to order custom stamps with your own image or graphic. The software that is used for ordering, printing, and tracking postage is DAZzle. DAZzle, a downloadable software, allows you to track your postage costs, verify addresses, customize labels, print shipping labels in bulk, offers free delivery confirmation of orders, and the ability to import shipping addresses from various formats. The process involves entering a mailing address, validation of the address, and printing of postage.
The USPS requires that an address be verified prior to the postage being printed, which is a built-in feature of DAZzle. You pay the face value for the amount of postage to be used in increments, and packages have to be shipped on the date that the postage is printed. For any errors in printing (for example, if your printer runs out of toner when printing), you can receive a refund within a 30 day period.
The software can import data from various sources, including Microsoft Outlook, Office, ACT!, Goldminer, Maximizer, CSV, and tab delimited text files. A demo of DAZzle is available for viewing at www.endicia.com/endicia-usa/Site/demo.cfm. An appropriate scale is needed to accurately weigh packages and determine the amount of postage needed to be purchased, which is calculated by the software. Depending on the capabilities of your printer, you can either print postage on mailing labels or directly onto an envelope. There are several sizes to choose from within the software, and you can also setup a custom label size. A laser printer has worked well for our purposes.
Using Endicia.com To Save on Shipping Costs
Shipping log using Endicia.
The Endicia website has a well designed support section to handle a wide range of questions, and is very responsive to support questions and problems.
From our experience, just having the free delivery confirmation feature alone has averaged a savings of $800 and more per month for domestic shipments, in addition to the time savings. By avoiding the hassles of waiting in line at the post office, we can give our packages directly to our rural mail carrier or drop them off at the local post office counter in USPS provided plastic mail tubs. As long as a package is weighed correctly and the postage is attached and ready to go, a carrier should accept it (there are some extra requirements noted here in this article with international shipments). Another side benefit is less gas used and wear and tear on our vehicle.
Depending on your circumstances, a mail carrier who walks on their route may have an issue with picking it up if there are too many packages. Then you may have to deliver it to the post office. Also note that the US Post Office does require that international packages weighing over 16 ounces be presented to a USPS postal clerk at the post office, along with a completed USPS green customs form filled out and attached to the package for security reasons.
Insurance is available for purchase on Endicia, including USPS, Endicia, or U-PIC. Endicia insurance is available up to $5,000. For packages which are insured through the USPS, it is required that you deliver them to a postal clerk and complete a USPS insurance form.
Endicia has a rich feature set with reasonable fees for what you receive. It is a useful service for professional booksellers who want to better control costs, with the ability to verify customer addresses, track their shipments, and save time.
Carl Burnham can be reached online at www.SouthpointBooks.com.